My friend Terri Lee gave me a book today. I had nothing to give in return. Not good, expecially since it’s the month of presents.
Terri Lee and I were delighted to discover a couple of months ago that we have the same taste in trashy novels. We bonded when we shared our guilt of reading mindless stuff when there is so much to read that’s worthy. And we agreed to share some of our favourites when we see each other. But the only books I had with me today were stored on a computer chip.
I’m a gadget person. I have an inordinate fondness for tiny technology. I fully embrace opportunities to express my inner geek.
A couple of weeks ago, I was having a blue day. So Sweetie came home with a present. A Kobo e-reader. Normally this would be the sort of thing that would generate delight, not to mention hugs and kisses. I’d been looking at e-readers for awhile. Picking them up. Holding them. Playing with them. Trying to decide if this was something for me. Sort of like a puppy.
Normally when I’m attracted to a new gadget, I decide instantly if I want it. It calls to me. Three times I’d gone to Chapters intending to come home with an e-reader. Three times I changed my mind. Bought real books instead. And therein lies the problem.
I’ve always had this idea in my head that one day, when Sweetie and I move to our retirement house, I’d have a room in the house devoted to books. A real library. Books of all kinds. Hardcovers! All the books I have now that I still haven’t found the time to read. Books on shelves covering at least two walls, maybe three. A fireplace. A couple of comfy chairs. A good sound system for music. I picture myself curled up in one of the chairs with one of those books. Happy.
But now there’s the e-reader. Shiny! Hundreds of books in one small place! Great for travel! Shiny! Lightweight! Wireless capability! Shiny! Never lose your place – it takes opens exactly where you left off! True geek appeal. Except…. except…. it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like a book. The words are all there but they don’t look the same. There’s only one page in view. You don’t turn a page, you push a button. When you hold a real book with one hand, you cradle the spine lovinglyin your hand with your thumb anchoring it in the middle. I don’t know how to hold an e-book!
Still I persevere. I want to give it a fair chance. I’ve been reading it on the Go train to and from work. Assuming I’ve remembered to charge it. Despite the promises, there’s a bit of a glare on the screen and that’s tiresome. I don’t like the push button to turn the page. Hurts my thumb after awhile. And it’s tricky to shift the screen when you’ve got a coffee in your hand.
I’m thinking that maybe if I get a case for it that opens up like a book, it might help. There will still be only one screen but it might solve the problem of how to hold it.
I could get a more expensive version that has a touch screen and I could swipe my finger across the screen. That might feel more like turning a page.
But what to do when I want to give Terri Lee a really great potboiler? And what about my library? I can’t quite see a room with a little drawer full of memory cards.
I may have the solution. My friend Kai says there’s a new gadget out. A tiny laptop with a touch screen keyboard! If you turn it sideways, it looks like a real book. You can see two pages and you can turn the page with a finger swipe. Kai says if Sweetie really loves me, I’ll find it under the Christmas tree.
I’m thinking maybe I can adapt. Maybe Terri Lee would like an e-reader. I might have one to give away. Especially if a shiny new toy turns up under the tree.
(By the way, Sweetie did get hugs and kisses. My mother brought me up right.)